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Siena Welcomes New Head of School 

Experienced Educator, School Leader Katie Douglas Becomes Head of School for Siena Silver Spring

From Ms. Douglas

Dear Siena Community,

Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting campus for two days to meet with members of the community and observe classes. It felt like a homecoming returning to a community whose mission is to support, nurture, and engage students who learn differently. I am thrilled and honored to be joining this wonderful school. 

A picture of Siena Silver Spring's new Head of School, Katie Douglas.
Katie Douglas

As I met with various groups on campus, I was again impressed by the passionate, dedicated, and skilled teaching team, the united and thoughtful leadership team, and the engaged, creative, and confident students. From walking into the building to find a welcome banner signed by students to greetings from everyone I passed, I felt a warm welcome from the entire Siena community. Each group I met with echoed similar sentiments about what matters most to them at Siena. I heard over and over again about the strong community and the desire to continue to find ways to connect after the pandemic; the intentional, rigorous, and well-thought-out programming for students; and the joy that is alive and well throughout the school.

It is abundantly clear that Siena has strong systems and structures in place to implement best practices and live a clear mission. 

Indeed, as I wandered through the halls and sat in on classes, students were open and confident when I asked what they were working on. I saw:

  • countless opportunities for self-expression as students worked on visual public service announcements after writing persuasive essays about issues relevant to their lives, while others created photographic portraits of their peers;
  • routines and consistency in each class I visited and many examples of multisensory instruction;
  • a deep care and love for students coupled with cueing and prompting that comes from teachers who are deeply skilled in instruction for students who learn differently; 
  • students getting ready to learn by moving their bodies to their favorite Go Noodle video, students building community by playing a game during circle of power and respect, and teachers checking in with students one-on-one as they worked on culminating physics projects;
  • joy and amazement when students successfully created a cloud in a bottle and the aha moment when a student successfully solved a long division problem using their division button strategy;
  • delightful student-created roller coasters lining the walls of the stairwells and assemblages other students were making in art after a trip to the thrift store; and 
  • an impressive private performance of the student band’s original song that has been published on Spotify. 

Everywhere I turned there were examples of student agency, learning, creativity, and joy.

I am excited to jump right in and get to work thinking about the next year. My first steps are to continue to get to know the community, the systems, and the structures that have made Siena such a successful place for students, teachers, and families alike. I look forward to opportunities to meet with you all over the coming months and will send out ways we can be in touch.

I wish you all a summer full of rest, play, and time in the sun. See you soon!


Frequently Asked Questions

Katie Douglas will officially start as Head of School for Siena Silver Spring on July 1, 2023. She will begin gradually transitioning into her new role and meeting with the Siena community soon. Stay tuned for more information about opportunities to meet with Katie in the second semester.  

Yes! All Siena community members and other stakeholders will have opportunities to meet with Katie in person or virtually in the near future.

In partnership with Storbeck Search, the Head of School Search Committee conducted a nationwide search. By unanimous decision, the Search Committee chose Katie Douglas as Siena Silver Spring's next Head of School in early November.

Siena was looking for a candidate who would exemplify many important qualities, including: established experience in education for the LD community, an ability to model and inspire educational vision and innovation, an exceptional commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, and authentic, transparent, and collaborative leadership.

Read the Head of School Search Profile

"We're delighted that Katie Douglas is joining the Siena community as the next Head of School for Silver Spring. Katie's experience, expertise, and dedication to students who learn differently were evident throughout the selection process, and we're excited that she's joining Siena's team."  Dr. Jilly Darefsky, Executive Head of School

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